Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Falls and Fractures

Falls are serious at any age, but especially for older people who are more likely to break a bone when they fall.

If you have a disease called osteoporosis, you are more likely to break a bone if you fall. Osteoporosis is called the "silent disease" because bones become weak with no symptoms. You may not know that you have it until a strain, bump, or fall causes a bone to break.

Drinking alcohol can lead to a fall because it can:
  • Slow your reflexes
  • Cause you to feel dizzy or sleepy
  • Alter your balance
  • Cause you to take risks that can lead to falls.
Some of the reasons people fall are:
  • Tripping or slipping due to loss of footing or traction
  • Slow reflexes, which make it hard to keep your balance or move out of the way of a hazard
  • Balance problems
  • Reduced muscle strength
  • Poor vision
Medicines that may increase the risk of falls are:
  • Blood pressure pills
  • Heart medicines
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Sleeping pills


At any age, people can make changes to lower their risk of falling. Some tips to help prevent falls outdoors are

  • Wear rubber-soled shoes so you don't slip

  • Walk on grass when sidewalks are slick

  • Use a cane or walker

  • prevent falls indoors are:

  • Use plastic or carpet runners

  • Wear low-heeled shoes

  • Keep rooms free of clutter, especially on floors

  • Do not walk in socks, stockings, or slippers

  • Be sure rugs have skid-proof backs or are tacked to the floor

  • Keep a flashlight next to your bed

  • Use a sturdy stepstool with a handrail and wide steps

  • Add more lights in rooms

  • Be sure stairs are well lit and have rails on both sides

  • Prevent Broken Bones

    Sometimes you cannot prevent a fall. If you do fall, you can try to prevent breaking a bone. Try to fall forwards or backwards (on your buttocks), because if you fall to the side you may break your hip. You can also use your hands or grab things around you to break a fall. Some people wear extra clothes to pad their hips or use special hip pads

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